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2018/03/09 第206期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
編輯小語 Plagiarism Software Unveils a New Source for 11 of Shakespeare’s Plays 抄襲偵測軟體 揭露莎翁靈感來源
The Globalization of the National Book Awards 美國家圖書獎 擁抱全球
Plagiarism Software Unveils a New Source for 11 of Shakespeare’s Plays 抄襲偵測軟體 揭露莎翁靈感來源
文/Michael Blanding

For years scholars have debated what inspired William Shakespeare’s writings. Now, with the help of software typically used by professors to nab cheating students, two writers have discovered an unpublished manuscript they believe the Bard of Avon consulted to write “King Lear,” “Macbeth,” “Richard III,” “Henry V” and seven other plays.

The findings were made by Dennis McCarthy and June Schlueter, who describe them in a book published this month by the academic press D.S. Brewer and the British Library. The authors are not suggesting that Shakespeare plagiarized but rather that he read and was inspired by a manuscript titled “A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels,” written in the late 1500s by George North, a minor figure in the court of Queen Elizabeth.



In reviewing the book before it was published, David Bevington, professor emeritus in the humanities at the University of Chicago and editor of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (7th Edition),” called it “a revelation” for the sheer number of correlations with the plays.

McCarthy used decidedly modern techniques to marshal his evidence, employing WCopyfind, an open-source plagiarism software, which picked out common words and phrases in the manuscript and the plays.



In the dedication to his manuscript, for example, North urges those who might see themselves as ugly to strive to be inwardly beautiful, to defy nature. He uses a succession of words to make the argument, including “proportion,” “glass,” “feature,” “fair,” “deformed,” “world,” “shadow” and “nature.” In the opening soliloquy of Richard III (“Now is the winter of our discontent ...”) the hunchbacked tyrant uses the same words in virtually the same order to come to the opposite conclusion: that since he is outwardly ugly, he will act the villain he appears to be.

In another passage, North uses six terms for dogs, from the noble mastiff to the lowly cur and “trundle-tail,” to argue that just as dogs exist in a natural hierarchy, so do humans. Shakespeare uses essentially the same list of dogs to make similar points in “King Lear” and “Macbeth.”



In 1576, North was living at Kirtling Hall near Cambridge, England, the estate of Baron Roger North. It was here, McCarthy says, that he wrote his manuscript.

The manuscript is a diatribe against rebels, arguing that all rebellions against a monarch are unjust and doomed to fail. While Shakespeare had a more ambiguous position on rebellion, McCarthy said he clearly mined North’s treatise for themes and characters.





16世紀劇作家莎士比亞是西方文藝史上最傑出的作家之一,在英格蘭集市城鎮「雅芬河畔史特拉福鎮」出生長大。他並非憑一己之力編織出所有劇作的情節,有時採用古老的故事,有時借用年代較近的義大利作家(如薄伽丘)的故事,家喻戶曉的故事(如羅密歐與茱麗葉Romeo and Juliet、無事生非Much Ado About Nothing)和罕為人知的(如奥賽羅Othello)都有。創作歷史劇時,以羅馬史為題材的他大多參考諾思翻譯的「希臘羅馬名人傳」,以英格蘭史為題材的大多參考何林塞與霍爾的編年史。


其實,研究者進一步發現,在手稿和「理查三世」開場獨白裡,文中提到的八個關鍵字「緊密並列」(tight juxtaposition),諾斯在手稿中的77個字內用上這八個字,莎翁在理查三世92個字內用上,研究者搜尋了包含六萬多本早期英格蘭書籍的資料庫,沒有一本在連續200個字內用上同樣這八個字,研究者說,莎翁碰巧(by chance)這麼做的可能性微乎其微。


The Globalization of the National Book Awards 美國家圖書獎 擁抱全球
文/Alexandra Alter

The National Book Awards, among the most prestigious literary prizes, are going global.

Starting this year, the National Book Foundation will recognize works in translation, opening up a distinctly American literary award to writers working in other languages. The new category marks a radical departure for awards, which began in 1950 “to celebrate the best of American literature.”



The prize will be given jointly to authors and translators, and will be limited to fiction and nonfiction works by living authors that are published in the United States. International authors who write in English will not be eligible.

The decision to recognize international authors was made unanimously by the foundation’s board of directors, in an effort to draw attention to works in translation, which are often neglected by U.S. readers and publishers.



“This is an opportunity for us to influence how visible books in translation are,” said Lisa Lucas, the executive director of the National Book Foundation. “The less we know about the rest of the world, the worse off we are.”

While there are a growing number of publishing houses that specialize in publishing works in translation and international literature — including Europa Editions, Archipelago Books, AmazonCrossing and Tilted Axis, which publishes contemporary Asian literature, mainly by women — translated literature still accounts for a tiny percentage of books published in the United States. And although international authors like Elena Ferrante, Haruki Murakami, Karl Ove Knausgaard and Han Kang have been embraced by American readers, there is still a lingering perception that translated literature does not sell well in the U.S.



It is not the first time the National Book Awards has broadened its scope. In the 1960s and 1970s, an array of new categories were added, including prizes in science, philosophy and religion, history and biography, arts and letters, contemporary thought, autobiography, first novel, original paperback and children’s books, as well as a prize for translation. Then, in 1986, the organization scaled back drastically, to just two awards, for fiction and nonfiction. It later added poetry and young people’s literature.

The new translation prize marks the first time the foundation has added a category in more than two decades.

Other literary institutions have also made efforts to highlight works in translation. The PEN American Center has given out a translation prize to highlight international works since the 1960s.





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